Thursday, September 23, 2010

A mystery solved.

How do cuckoos steal a march on the eggs of their host in order to hatch first and then evict all of their competitors? Researchers at Sheffield University think they have found the answer (Published September 22, 2010 in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B).
They believe that, in comparision to other birds, female Cuckoos hold on to their eggs for a further 24 hours before they lay them. This gives them the added advantage of being incubated at 40dC rather than the 36dC they would experience in the nest. This additional warm for 24hours, in terms of development, gives them a massive 31 hours growth difference compared to the eggs in the nest - and in developing eggs this time difference on development is huge.
As a result, this means that the cuckoo will hatch at least 24 hours, if not more, before the other eggs allowing it to perform its dirty deeds before the others have a chance.
Image from RXWildlife Sightings.


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